The photo above is a “before” shot. These windows suffered from their age. Scroll to the bottom to see the “after”!
As soon as the weather warms up it seems like everyone comes out of hibernation to begin the season’s customary cleanup. Siding gets washed, decks get stained, leaves and lawns get tended – and if you’re like most of us, windows get a good washing after a winter of snow, rain, storms, and grime kicked up from roads full of salt and sand.
But as you wash your windows, you may notice that they just don’t seem to be coming clean. However carefully you scrub them inside and out, windows appear fogged, and not quite as crystal clear as you’d like going into the bright days of spring and summer.
No, it’s not your cleaner or the rag, and no amount of elbow grease will help – your windows have just become another victim of glass failure.
What Is Glass Failure?
Glass failure can happen at any time of the year, but many people notice it when winter winds down because that’s when they take to spring cleaning and suddenly realize there’s a problem.
It happens when the thermal seal between two panes of glass fails to keep air and moisture out. Instead, air and water get trapped between the panes and result in the foggy effect you see. You may also notice it as rivulets of condensation or as a haze that has a snowflake-like appearance.
Windows on the sunniest side of your home may be more susceptible, since there are greater temperature swings between hot summer sun and icy cold winters, which can cause windows to expand and contract, loosening and breaking seals.
What’s A Homeowner To Do?
You best option when a thermal seal is broken is to replace your windows with new, high-quality and energy efficient windows, especially if your windows have seen their fair share of seasons.
In older windows, seals were reinforced with caulk, which is susceptible to the expansion and contraction that can damage seals. New windows typically use a spacer to keep glass separated and in place, which moves with the glass to help prevent seals from breaking.
Mold between panes is another good sign that your windows need to be replaced, since it’s likely the problem has manifested for a while and may be damaging your window structure as well.
Plus, broken seals probably mean you’ve been spending more on energy bills than you need to be, so new windows will go a long way to saving you money in the long run and keeping you more comfortable in your home.
You may be tempted to have the seals repaired, which can be a much less costly option, but the process will typically not restore your windows to their former function and appearance. This may be a temporary quick-fix but over time you will likely lose the quality of the view from your window and lose heat and cool air – leading to higher energy bills – to faulty seals.
If your spring cleaning efforts are thwarted by foggy windows as a result of glass failure, let us know. We’ll come out to your home and provide you with a free estimate to replace old, drafty, inefficient and damaged windows with new ones that will serve you well for decades to come.